Dear CBC community,
I have been congested since childhood. Allergies to dust, pollen, and animal dander have been my reality since my earliest days. I was the only kid I knew, other than my brother, that always carried a handkerchief (“hanky”) in his pocket. I still do. Thankfully my congestion is seasonal; I am only congested in the fall, winter, and spring! There have been times in which I have needed to breath through my mouth at night for an entire winter. Once my dentist warned me about the dangers of dry mouth as though I had chosen to be congested and recommended various oral moisturizing products but what I really needed was relief from my congestion.
There are some allergy relief products, such as Afrin, that provide quick and amazing relief but there is a catch - you can only use them for up to three consecutive days or they will cause your congestion to worsen. This reaction is called rebounding and it makes such products useless, even harmful, to a chronic allergy sufferer like me.
While not everyone needs relief from allergies, almost everyone needs rest; relief from the pressures, demands, disappointments, stresses, etc. of life. Many of us try an Afrin-type approach on the weekends. We want quick relief so we sleep too much, or eat and drink too much, or watch too much entertainment, or pack in too much activity, or do some assortment of these things only to find ourselves even more tired on Monday than we were on Friday. Many of our attempts to rest don’t provide lasting relief but instead rebound on us and leave us more tired and worn out than before.
The rest of Sabbath is what we need. The rest of Sabbath is not found in the absence of problems but in the presence of God. We don’t need to get away from our work or problems or pains as much as we need to draw near to God. We need to learn how to rest in such a way that we are actually renewed, refreshed, and replenished. That is what we are after this fall in our study of rest. No matter our starting point, we want to learn to enter God’s rest more fully and more completely. We don’t want something temporary but lasting; a rest for the rest of our lives. God is offering such a rest but we need to understand it, to experience it, and to live it. I hope you you join us on this journey; we can’t really rest until we find it.